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Bureau of Reclamation announces new national appointments

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation announces the appointment of three new officials.

Darryl Beckmann

Reclamation named Darryl Beckmann to the job of Deputy Commissioner Policy, Administration, and Budget. In that position, Beckmann is responsible for: administration; security, safety and law enforcement; program and budget; and policy and program services. He assumed his new duties in June.

Beckmann previously served as director of administration for Reclamation. He also is a former deputy regional director of the Upper Colorado Region in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bruce Muller, Jr.

Reclamation named Bruce Muller, Jr. deputy director for security, safety, and law enforcement. In that position, Muller is responsible for risk management programs that ensure Reclamation’s ability to deliver water and generate power in the 17 western states. Muller is responsible for the Dam Safety, Site Security, and Occupational Health and Safety programs.


Bruce Muller, Jr.
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He previously served as chief of the Dam Safety Office. Prior to that assignment, Muller was team leader for rehabilitation projects at Barlett, Friant, and Folsom dams.

Muller replaces David Achterberg, who was named Reclamation’s director for security, safety, and law enforcement.

Michael Gabaldon

Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson named Michael Gabaldon director of technical resources.


Michael Gabaldon
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Gabaldon oversees the Technical Service Center, Research and Development Program, the Power Office, and the Dam Safety Office/Design Engineering and Construction Office.

Gabaldon previously served as director of the Technical Service Center. He began his career in Reclamation in 1982 as a construction inspector in Colorado. He has also worked in the Durango Projects Office and the Bend Construction Office.

In 1998, Gabaldon was named manager of the Albuquerque, N.M., Area Office. He was promoted to deputy director of operations in 2001. In 2003, he was named director of policy, management, and technical services.

Prominent dam engineers remembered for contributions

Three prominent dam safety engineers died in 2008 – Ralph B. Peck, Richard C. Harlan, and Wilson V. Binger.

Ralph B. Peck

Peck died in February 2008. He was 95.

In 1948, Peck co-authored a book with Karl Terzaghi, Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice, which the U.S. Society on Dams (USSD) calls the most influential textbook in geotechnical engineering. Peck also co-authored the widely used textbook Foundation Engineering. He was a professor of foundation engineering at the University of Illinois. Following retirement from the university, he consulted.

At its 2008 conference, USSD presented its Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously to Peck for achievements and expertise in geotechnical engineering.

Richard C. Harlan

Richard C. “Dick” Harlan, a geotechnical engineer experienced in the planning, investigation, design, and construction of major water projects, died in March 2008. He was 73.

Harlan specialized in the evaluation of safety, seismic stability, and liquefaction resistance of existing dams. He worked for several engineering consulting firms during his career.

At Bechtel, he served on the engineering team for the 5,528-MW Churchill Falls project for Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. He served at that project as resident engineer in 1969 and 1970, working on the design and construction of four spillways and 90 embankments that would contain a reservoir.

Harlan served as an independent consulting engineer in the 1990s. He participated in the development of Chapter 14, “Monitoring the Performance of Dams,” in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Engineering Guidelines.

Wilson V. Binger

Wilson V. Binger, a leading civil engineer and a member of several national and international engineering associations, died in April 2008. He was 91.

Binger served as Secretary of the U.S. Committee on Large Dams, now the U.S. Society on Dams, from 1962-1978. He subsequently served as vice president of the International Committee on Large Dams, from 1978-1981. He was a member of the Fedn. Internationale des Ingénieurs Conseils, and served as its president from 1981-1983.

Binger was a partner in the engineering firm Tibbetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton (TAMS) from 1962 through 1984. He served as chairman of the partnership from 1975 through 1984. Under his direction, TAMS designed and provided construction management for the 3,478-MW Tarbela Dam project on the Indus River in Pakistan.

DiStasio named general manager of Sacramento Municipal Utility District

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) named John DiStasio its general manager. DiStasio succeeds Jan Schori, who earlier in the year announced plans to retire after 14 years of running the publicly owned utility.


John DiStasio
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DiStasio, a 27-year SMUD veteran, previously served as assistant general manager for Energy Delivery & Customer Service. He assumed his new position in June.

DiStasio moves to SMUD’s top post after serving as assistant general manager since December 2000. In that job, he oversaw SMUD’s retail operations.

In addition to duties at SMUD, DiStasio is president of the board of the Northwest Public Power Association.

SMUD owns and operates the 637-MW Upper American River project, which includes eight power plants and 11 reservoirs. The utility also is pursuing plans for development of the 400-MW Iowa Hill pumped-storage project.

Brookfield Renewable Power selects Girard to direct project procurement

Brookfield Renewable Power named Gilles Girard director of projects procurement, a new position created to support the company’s growth objectives in renewable energy.


Gilles Girard
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Girard is responsible for procurement of equipment and services related to development of all greenfield projects in North America, including hydroelectric and wind technologies. He also is responsible for developing strategic alliances with equipment suppliers and general contractors aimed at securing Brookfield Renewable Power’s supply chain.

Girard worked at GE for 35 years before joining Brookfield Renewable Power.

EPRI Regional Manager Morris retires

Doug Morris, EPRI regional manager, Generation–Northeast Region, retired in June.

Before being named regional manager, Morris managed hydropower research projects at EPRI. He worked with representatives of electric utilities, federal agencies, and private consultants who formed a technical advisory group. This group assisted Morris by suggesting the direction of the research and reviewing the results.

His work included managing the investigation of uplift pressure under concrete dams. Morris also managed the first privately funded probable maximum precipitation study, an attempt to standardize the procedures for developing the probable maximum flood, and an early attempt to use Doppler radar to forecast reservoir levels and hydro capacity.

Mohseni joins Barr Engineering Co.; Weiss succeeds at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory

Omid Mohseni joined Barr Engineering Co. as senior water resources engineer. In this position, he manages projects related to hydro plants, hydraulic structures, and hydrodynamics of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

Mohseni previously served as associate director of applied research at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota.

Peter Weiss assumed Mohseni’s position at the lab. Weiss previously served as assistant professor as Hartford University in Connecticut and as associate professor at Valparaiso University in Indiana.


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